The Old homestead

   The famous, frequently revived rural drama by Denman Thompson (with uncredited contributions by George W. Ryer) opened at the Fourteenth Street Theatre on 10 January 1887 and ran for 160 performances. It began as a variety sketch that Thompson developed early in the 1870s, in which he portrayed a New England farmer, Joshua Whitcomb. The sketch's popularity and longevity prompted Thompson to expand it into a full-length play, which he performed on the road for the remainder of his career. In sum, Thompson played Joshua Whitcomb a total of 35 years; that is, more than 10,000 times. The Old Homestead always played well in the American heartland, where people remembered their farm antecedents and relished the story of simple human warmth and decency. Even after Thompson's death, the piece was taken up by others, as in a three-week revival at Manhattan Opera House in 1913.

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

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